Galesburg's Ash Trees Will Be Cut Down - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Galesburg's Ash Trees Will Be Cut Down

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The Emerald Ash Borer has killed millions of Ash trees over the last decade.

Just one month ago, Knox County was found to be contaminated with the bug.

Tuesday night, the Galesburg City Council approved a plan to rid itself of the pest.

The City controls 800 ash trees within its borders.

It will treat 100 of those trees with insecticide.

The remaining 700 trees will be cut down.

"It was a devastating thing for the city of Galesburg we had trees that looked like tunnels, it was just so sad to see those lost," says Galesburg Tree Commissioner Dick Ralston. He remembers the Dutch Elm disease epidemic that wiped out Galesburg's tree lined streets 50 years ago. He says Emerald Ash Borer will cause the same thing to the Ash trees.

"Here we are we're paying the price again," says Ralston.

City Public Works Director Larry Cox says, "We were hoping we would have a couple more years before it got here, it hasn't been found in Peoria it hasn't been confirmed in Peoria County yet, so it kind of skipped over an area to get to Knox County."

Cox says the City has been preparing for this situation for the last eight years. The City knows it can only afford to save a few.

"If you try to treat a tree you have to treat it for it's entire life, they don't have any known cure for the Emerald Ash Borer, it's just expected to be here forever basically," says Cox.

The City will start cutting down 140 Ash trees each year starting in 2014. It will take five years to finish the job and will cost the city 500-thousand dollars. An expense Cox worries about.

"It wasn't easy to balance our budget this year, and we didn't have this expenditure in it, so I'm sure it won't be easy to do," says Cox.

Ralston has a healthy Ash tree in his yard. He plans to cut it down and replace it with a Ginko tree.

"That's one of the oldest trees known to man and seems to be resistant to all diseases," says Ralston.

Planting one tree to replace the others that will be lost.

Property owners with Ash trees in their yards will be responsible for removing them once they become infected.

The City is discussing establishing a tree removal fund to help cover the costs for low income property owners.

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